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Old 01-07-2013, 04:38 PM
 
2,135 posts, read 4,258,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYTom View Post
I know, I'm not talking about the cheap furniture that's made in China, but more so the good quality workmanship of yesteryear. I have a nice buffet from the 60's that strong, solid and sturdy and I can't imagine why it's not going to hold a tank when the store stand is made of particle board and is basically hollow inside, No extra support brackets.
I was just wondering if it's a gimmick.
Those cheap particle board stand do work. They just seem scary as hell to use though. Also when you get water on them they warp badly.

You can try it. A larger tank won't work though. A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds or 7. Can't remember. A 125 or 180 is a lot of weight!
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,701 posts, read 79,356,279 times
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A good fish store (not pet store) is a decent source of information. This forum is decent as well. INternet research will reveal other decent options.

One thing we found is people tend to overdramatize the difficulty of maintaining a fish tank. We have had two 70 gallon tanks. One for about seven years and one for about a year. We learned some thngs.

1. Over filter the tank. We have enough filtration for more than 150 gallons.

2. Yes, change the water regualrly, but if you miss, you fish are not likely to all die. At times, we ahve realized we forgot to change any of hte water for more than a month and no fish died. Once we accidentally went three months with no water change. Everyone thought somone else had done it.

3. You can cram a surprising number of fish into a tank with a lot of filtration. The problem is wiht a crowded tank if someothng goes wrong like a broken filter or bubbler, or a large fishin dying and you do nto see it, you can lose all of them. Less crowded is less sensative.

4. You can be really anal and scientific about testing the water sixteen different ways to sunday, or you can just bring a jug in ot the fish store whenever you go there for supplies. The result is the same. 90% of the time, they tell us the water is just fine.

5. The heater is your greatest threat. If it fails, the fish get cold and some usually die. If it overheats, the fish lose oxygen and die or you cna even cook them. Heaters break all the time, and sometimes they over heat but mostly they just quit. Someone suggested rpelacing the heater every two years even if it seems ok. We like that advice.

6. Get some fish that help you keep the tank clean. A few Kuhli loaches and a plecostomus or two will save you a lot of work. Kuhli loaches pretty much disappear (with an occaisional spaz session). A horse faced loach also helps clean up and does not hide, but he will not clean under the rocks like Kuhli loaches.

7. By fishkeeping standards my advice is all terrible advice bad wrong and will kill all of your fish - except that it doesnt. We do lose a fish once in a while, usually because they jump out or get stuck someplace inside the tank. However that lets you go pick out a new fish which is fun.

8. Personally I like fewer large fish more than lots of little ones. You can see them from far away.

9. Freshg water Fish buying rules:

$1 - $8 You will have a fish that looks boring but swims around.

$8 - $20 The cool looking fish will hide under something and come out only at night. You will put it in the tank and then never know whether it is still alive.

$20 - $50 the totally awesome fish will die one day after the warranty expires, eat all of your other fish, or introduce some awful disease that will cost $200 in chemicals to get rid of. Or all three.

Aquariums are fun. Sometimes the fish live a really long time, years and years. Sometimes they die and you get another one, and it is fine. Picking out new fish is fun. Changing water is not fun, ut not too bad and necessary do it weekly, but do not panic if you miss a week (or even a month).


Watching an aquarium can be more entertaining than watching TV (but then so can watching you socks decompress after being inside a shoe all day).

So, we feed them daily, clean the filters once in a while when they seem crudded up, change 10 - 15% of the water weekly or when we remember, refill water that evaporates, replace the heater every two years. That is about it. Not much work really. Pretty good return given the hours and hours of weekly staring the tank gets.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:22 PM
 
2,873 posts, read 5,821,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post

6. Get some fish that help you keep the tank clean. A few Kuhli loaches and a plecostomus or two will save you a lot of work. Kuhli loaches pretty much disappear (with an occaisional spaz session). A horse faced loach also helps clean up and does not hide, but he will not clean under the rocks like Kuhli loaches.
Your fish store is almost certain to suggest a common pleco, OP They grow to up to 2 feet as adults (and I've seen them at full size...they're monsters.) There are many, many pleco species that stay smaller and are more suitable for most tanks. Plecos are great, but be careful what you buy!

Kuhl loaches are best kept with sand or smooth rocks because they burrow and can get scratched up. They also prefer groups of 3 or more. The most important to keep in mind with loaches is that they are scaleless. This means they can be strongly affected by many medications, such as medications to treat Ich. They are also sensitive to salt, which is sometimes added to freshwater aquariums to treat various diseases. So if you have loaches, you need to keep this in mind and either move them to a separate tank during treatment or adjust your doses.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
7. By fishkeeping standards my advice is all terrible advice bad wrong and will kill all of your fish - except that it doesnt. We do lose a fish once in a while, usually because they jump out or get stuck someplace inside the tank. However that lets you go pick out a new fish which is fun.
The forum I suggested before is considered very anal when it comes to testing and water changes. I'm very anal myself and do a full test with a liquid test kit weekly, never miss a water change, and count fish everyday to make sure I'm catching any early signs of illness. This is the routine most of the experienced posters on the forum follow.

With that said, almost all of those experienced posters can tell stories of a time when testing wasn't 'in' and water changes were something you did every six months or so. And their fish survived and thrived. Personally, I just don't like leaving anything to chance, especially when it involves animals under my care. But once a tank hits its stride with the bacteria colony, they can be very stable for long periods with very little care. Again, that's not for me, but Coldjensen isn't 'wrong'...there's just different ways of being 'right' when it comes to fish. Heck, my first fish was a rescue from my job. He lived in a tiny tank, no heater, never had a water change...the water was BLACK (this was a dwarf gourami.) Despite the atrocious neglect (I doubt they remembered to feed him more than once a week), he was surviving with no signs of sickness.

Now, with THAT said, there is such a thing as old tank syndrome. Basically, fish can adjust and survive fairly toxic conditions so long as the changes are gradual. So a fish that's been in a tank for years has adjusted to the condition of that tank, even if the Ph is off or the ammonia is high. In such a situation, a new fish being added may sicken because the conditions are just too different. And for any fish, high ammonia and high nitrites ARE toxic. It may only shorten their lifespan instead of kill them straight off, but it does cause organ damage.

Also, totally agree with Coldjensens about the heater thing. I've heard far too many horror stories of fish being basically boiled alive because their heater malfunctioned. Get a temp. stripe for the front of the tank and check it morning and night. Don't buy cheap heaters...it's worth the twenty bucks more for a better brand.

Another tip...if you want a low maintenance tank, live plants will help keep your water in good condition. They use up nutrients that would otherwise cause an ammonia build-up and they reduce algae by out-competing it.

Also...avoid store-bought guppies. I like them for their colors, but they are inbreed as all heck and frail. Avoid any doctored fish like artificially colored fish or tattooed fish...it's flat out cruelty. Dwarf gouramis are prone to a fatal, incurable illness called dwarf gourami isovirus and for this reason I won't keep them. Common neons are prone to an incurable illness as well, so if you like the look of them get Cardinals instead, which look the same, are larger, and aren't as frail.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:07 AM
 
5,064 posts, read 15,833,140 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParallelJJCat View Post
Your fish store is almost certain to suggest a common pleco, OP They grow to up to 2 feet as adults (and I've seen them at full size...they're monsters.) There are many, many pleco species that stay smaller and are more suitable for most tanks. Plecos are great, but be careful what you buy!

Kuhl loaches are best kept with sand or smooth rocks because they burrow and can get scratched up. They also prefer groups of 3 or more. The most important to keep in mind with loaches is that they are scaleless. This means they can be strongly affected by many medications, such as medications to treat Ich. They are also sensitive to salt, which is sometimes added to freshwater aquariums to treat various diseases. So if you have loaches, you need to keep this in mind and either move them to a separate tank during treatment or adjust your doses.




The forum I suggested before is considered very anal when it comes to testing and water changes. I'm very anal myself and do a full test with a liquid test kit weekly, never miss a water change, and count fish everyday to make sure I'm catching any early signs of illness. This is the routine most of the experienced posters on the forum follow.

With that said, almost all of those experienced posters can tell stories of a time when testing wasn't 'in' and water changes were something you did every six months or so. And their fish survived and thrived. Personally, I just don't like leaving anything to chance, especially when it involves animals under my care. But once a tank hits its stride with the bacteria colony, they can be very stable for long periods with very little care. Again, that's not for me, but Coldjensen isn't 'wrong'...there's just different ways of being 'right' when it comes to fish. Heck, my first fish was a rescue from my job. He lived in a tiny tank, no heater, never had a water change...the water was BLACK (this was a dwarf gourami.) Despite the atrocious neglect (I doubt they remembered to feed him more than once a week), he was surviving with no signs of sickness.

Now, with THAT said, there is such a thing as old tank syndrome. Basically, fish can adjust and survive fairly toxic conditions so long as the changes are gradual. So a fish that's been in a tank for years has adjusted to the condition of that tank, even if the Ph is off or the ammonia is high. In such a situation, a new fish being added may sicken because the conditions are just too different. And for any fish, high ammonia and high nitrites ARE toxic. It may only shorten their lifespan instead of kill them straight off, but it does cause organ damage.

Also, totally agree with Coldjensens about the heater thing. I've heard far too many horror stories of fish being basically boiled alive because their heater malfunctioned. Get a temp. stripe for the front of the tank and check it morning and night. Don't buy cheap heaters...it's worth the twenty bucks more for a better brand.

Another tip...if you want a low maintenance tank, live plants will help keep your water in good condition. They use up nutrients that would otherwise cause an ammonia build-up and they reduce algae by out-competing it.

Also...avoid store-bought guppies. I like them for their colors, but they are inbreed as all heck and frail. Avoid any doctored fish like artificially colored fish or tattooed fish...it's flat out cruelty. Dwarf gouramis are prone to a fatal, incurable illness called dwarf gourami isovirus and for this reason I won't keep them. Common neons are prone to an incurable illness as well, so if you like the look of them get Cardinals instead, which look the same, are larger, and aren't as frail.

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Old 01-11-2013, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,701 posts, read 79,356,279 times
Reputation: 39415
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParallelJJCat View Post
Another tip...if you want a low maintenance tank, live plants will help keep your water in good condition. They use up nutrients that would otherwise cause an ammonia build-up and they reduce algae by out-competing it.

.

I was going to go with live plants but the store said I would have to change the water more often with live plants. Am I getting inconsistent opinions here, or is their some explanation that makes them consistent?

How do you keep live plants alive? Do you need special lights or do the normal fish tank lights work? If you use grow lights, does it make algae grow too?
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:57 PM
 
2,135 posts, read 4,258,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I was going to go with live plants but the store said I would have to change the water more often with live plants. Am I getting inconsistent opinions here, or is their some explanation that makes them consistent?

How do you keep live plants alive? Do you need special lights or do the normal fish tank lights work? If you use grow lights, does it make algae grow too?
Look online for answers. The stores usually don't know anything.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:20 PM
 
2,873 posts, read 5,821,977 times
Reputation: 4342
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I was going to go with live plants but the store said I would have to change the water more often with live plants. Am I getting inconsistent opinions here, or is their some explanation that makes them consistent?

How do you keep live plants alive? Do you need special lights or do the normal fish tank lights work? If you use grow lights, does it make algae grow too?
Most people agree live plants keep your water cleaner and allow for more fish in the tank...it's basically extra filtration. I was leery too starting out for the same reasons, so instead I had silk fabric plants. Now those things were a mess! They'd look good for a few weeks, then the brown sludge would arrive. Since I switched to live plants, my water is much clearer and I haven't had any algae issues.

I run a low tech plant tank, which means I've purposely chosen plants that require low light and little care. A high tech tank requires special lighting and often CO2 infusion, which I just wasn't willing to deal with. I do use a plant light, but it's on the lower end of the spectrum and I watch how long I leave it on (no more than 10 hours.)

The other benefit of live plants is that they give the fish somewhere to hid and depending on your species, breed. I keep red cherry shrimp and I have a population explosion on my hands because they breed in my java moss. That's not a bad thing...shrimp are great for the tank (little bioload, great cleaners), so I'm happy they're breeding so well.

So if you're interested in trying live plants, look up 'low tech' plants for the various species that are considered low light/low care.
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:09 AM
 
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Pet stores don't usually know what they are talking about. Many of the employees were just looking for a job, any job, and received little training. They have little interest in the hobby themselves. What training they do get is often incorrect.

Live plants are useful because they absorb the nitrates and ammonia in the water, which is a product of fish waste etc. But just adding one or two small ones is going to make a big dent in your nitrates, you'd want several. Here is an article that explains it in simple terms:

Nitrates in the Aquarium - Coping With Nitrates in the Aquarium

That link also gives you another link to someone's journal as she switched from plastic to live plants. I noticed right away she made a mistake, but I kept reading and eventually it was noted that she had incorrectly placed the Hornwort plant. Of all the plants to choose, frankly Hornwort is not one of the best. It thrives for some people, but in my tanks it looks good for a couple of months, then just disintegrates into dozens of tiny needles all over the place, creating an awful mess. On the other hand it thrives in my pond. So I'd be very cautious if you tried that. Java fern, java moss, water sprite, various hygros and anubias thrive in my low tech lighting. If you want sound advice for low tech plants, that is the place to go:
Low Tech Forum - The Planted Tank Forum

Last edited by andthentherewere3; 01-12-2013 at 07:21 AM..
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andthentherewere3 View Post
That link also gives you another link to someone's journal as she switched from plastic to live plants. I noticed right away she made a mistake, but I kept reading and eventually it was noted that she had incorrectly placed the Hornwort plant. Of all the plants to choose, frankly Hornwort is not one of the best. It thrives for some people, but in my tanks it looks good for a couple of months, then just disintegrates into dozens of tiny needles all over the place, creating an awful mess. On the other hand it thrives in my pond. So I'd be very cautious if you tried that. Java fern, java moss, water sprite, various hygros and anubias thrive in my low tech lighting. If you want sound advice for low tech plants, that is the place to go:
Low Tech Forum - The Planted Tank Forum
I had the same experience with Hornwort...terrible stuff.

To the OP...one very important tip is to make sure you turn your heater off when you do water changes. If your heater is not completely covered by water, it can burn out or malfunction. Some of the old style heaters risked actually exploding. Don't turn your heater on the first time until it is submerged.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:42 PM
 
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All great tips thanks very much!

I decided I am going to use my father's old workbench that he built in the 60's. I reinforced it, glazed it and it looks great. I may put some cabinet doors on it. It is 6' x 2' and counter height, so I think it's the perfect piece to use and I could probably get a nice size tank for it. (not sure how many gal tanks would fit)

When all is done I will post pics.
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